We have a wide variety of diagnostic tools available in house which will give us results within a few hours and access to referral centres for more specialised investigations where required.
Blood tests may either be performed in house for immediate results or in some cases sent to an external laboratory for more specialised tests. Most blood samples can be taken during a routine consultation but more specialised tests may require us to admit your pet for half or a whole day. Animals are usually best starved for 12 hours before blood samples are taken to avoid feeding interfering with the test results.
Radiography (X-ray) and ultrasound examinations allow us to see images of your pets internal organs and musculo-skeletal system to allow diagnosis of a wide variety of problems. Most examinations can be performed under light sedation and only require your pet to be admitted for the day. Results will usually be available for you on the day of the examination unless the images are being referred to a specialist for a second opinion.
Electrocardiography (ECG) may be performed on pets with cardiac (heart) problems or lethargy to demonstrate the electrical activity within the heart. This can help to diagnose a wide variety of cardiac diseases, arrhythmias and other medical disorders. This examination is usually performed conscious but may take a little time hence the patient is usually admitted for a whole or half a day.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) can also affect dogs and cats and can be linked to some medical conditions, e.g. kidney disease in dogs and cats, hyperthyroidism in cats. If undiagnosed and untreated hypertension can seriously affect the prognosis in these conditions. It can also, in some cases cause acute blindness which once it develops is irreversible.
In humans the doctor listens to our pulse with a stethoscope, inflates a cuff around our arm to obliterate the pulse then gradually reduces the pressure in the cuff and measures the pressure at which the pulse is heard to return. In dogs and cats the peripheral pulse is too small to be heard with just a stethoscope but we can use a Doppler Ultrasound device to `listen’ for the animals pulse while measuring the pressure in a cuff placed on the animal’s limb in the same way as the doctor does.
This test is usually performed a minimum of 3 times after the animal is admitted and an average taken of the readings. This is to get a reliable reading and reduce the effect of anxiety due to the car journey, waiting room and first crossing of the consulting room threshhold!
Some elderly cats will have primary hypertension (not linked to underlying disease) which can also cause acute blindness if not diagnosed and managed. We recommend blood pressure screening of elderly cats as part of our preventative care for geriatric pets